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Tesla's Valvular Conduit

by VeryWetPaint, published

Tesla's Valvular Conduit by VeryWetPaint Feb 3, 2012

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This is an implementation of Nikola Tesla's "Valvular Conduit" that acts as a one-way-valve without any moving parts.


This implementation follows Tesla's patent diagrams, perhaps too closely. It works, but the cap is a bit leaky so I plan to re-design it in the future.


I recommend building this model with transparent material at the base and switching to colored material for the upper walls for contrast. Cap it tightly when testing or glue the lid with glue along the entire channel to avoid leaks.

So far I've only tested it by blowing air through it. It flowed okay in the forward direction, but when I reversed it the pressure blew the cap off!

There are more pictures of how I built the transparent model at http://mysd300.blogspot.com/search/label/Tesla

Update: As users have requested I've uploaded DXF files for anyone who wants to attempt laser cutting the model.

I've added Tesla enclosed conduit.stl which builds the conduit in one piece so it doesn't require a separate cap. All overhangs span from wall-to-wall so it should build without much trouble.

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I printed one. Like the other tesla valves on thingiverse, it does not really work

Printed one. Good design, doesn't work that good though.

Imagine you could make something that had a cross-section that takes on this pattern. Now you can flap it in one direction with more resistance than the return stroke. I wonder if this would fly?

Blew through. Recognized no difference between the sides.

Could you tell us if we should 3d-print the enclosed conduit with support materials?

Btw agree with messages on pulsing

I have created a video of a Tesla valvular conduit machined from aluminium. It can be found here…. ://http://youtu.be/XhJtSqLz88Qyoutu.be/XhJtSqLz88Q

It’s mesmerising to watch this working. I’ve noted a 20% difference in pressure drop from one side to another. I’d love to hear from anyone else interested in seeing this or who has tested one, or who would like to obtain cad data to produce their own through rapid prototyping.

I made one, but find that the difference of flow in the directions is only marginal.

As most people don't seem to understand the Tesla valvular conduit is only to be used in a pulsating gas stream. it doesn't do much with continuous pressure from one side or the other. It was designed to be used with a gas turbine of his design whereby the air + fuel coming in through the valvular conduit would flow in from the suction of the turbine, but when the spark ignited the fuel/air mixture the blowback would be impeded by the valvular conduit and all the pressure would be used to run the turbine. It was sort of a V1 ramjet with no moving parts (for the valve part). He claimed at least a 200:1 diode ratio of on:off for this device and modern implementations have gotten up to 250:1 when operated in the pulsating mode.

That makes more sense, I was thinking to myself, Pascal's law doesn't allow this thing to work as I remember.

I was just sayn to myself "does that work? it doesnt look like it should" , then I scrolled down and saw the comments, yours in particular. Makes sense now to me how it would require pulsing to create temporary pressure differences in order to work.

Could you use it to convert sound energy to air flow / any idea what the conversion efficiency would be ? Would the device need to be built on a scale similar to the travel distance of an air molecule driven by the sound?

There is not a lot of actual ENERGY in sound. The sound energy of a stadiumful of screaming people roughly equates to the power required to heat one cup of coffee.

You just made my day.

Thanks for the DXF... I sometimes ask submitters to post DXF if a design might lend itself to using a laser... appreciate it much. :-D

I wonder whether thcse could these be used as check valves in a fluidyne pump (a liquid piston sterling engine)... that would make a no-moving-parts and thus maintenance-free pump, very useful all over the world!

I doubt it would be effective. Unlike a conventional check valve Tesla's conduit doesn't offer any static resistance so there'd be a lot of backflow, probably too much for a fluidyne pump. Additionally, Tesla's conduit requires a forceful flow but a fluidyne pump can't create much pressure.

I know someone who doesn't need a cap and may eventually get around to sending you one. :-P

I really like your implementation of this! It looks very professional.

Any chance of also saving as a dxf file and posting here... I took a look and I could layer this in acrylic on a laser (Corel and Epilog Laser)... Perhaps Sean @ Makezine would like that too... more options for the magazine....thx

I uploaded DXF projections of both the base/cap and the wall profile. It'll look attractive in acrylic, but the design isn't really optimized for it; you'll probably find it tedious and fiddly to position the parts. I suggest using a thick-body cement like Weld-On 16 for assembling the 'islands' instead of the usual water-thin acrylic cement. Alternatively you could cut a support jig from Delrin to align the acrylic parts while the glue sets. (Delrin won't stick to acrylic.)

My next revision (first draft pictured) will probably adapt better to laser-cutting because the 'islands' are bigger and have a hole through them, so the cutout could be used to align the pieces. It should also solve the leaks in the 3D-printed version.

So cool! I'm watching the Thingiverse RSS feed so I'll see any new things related to this topic. But as you make improvements and/or post more photos or whatever, please feel free to e-mail me directly at [email protected] Would love to do a follow-up post about this.